Emergency response worker


Emergency response workers work in missions to aid in emergency and disaster situations, such as natural disasters or oil spills. They clean up the debris or waste caused by the event, ensure the people involved are brought to safety, prevent further damage, and transport goods such as food and medical supplies.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to emergency response worker:

first responder
disaster relief worker
incident response worker
first response worker
environmental emergency worker
natural emergency response worker
clean up worker
emergency response mission worker
emergency worker
emergency response team worker
aid worker

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as an emergency response worker.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Emergency response worker is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Emergency response worker career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to emergency response worker.

coastguard watch officer
septic tank servicer
building exterior cleaner
asbestos abatement worker
industrial firefighter

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of emergency response worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of emergency response worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

incinerator operator
radiation protection technician
solid waste operator
hazardous waste technician
liquid waste treatment plant operator

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of emergency response worker.

  • Operational tactics for emergency responses: The characteristics and proceedings of operational tactics for emergency responses especially at major incidents and catastrophes.
  • Flood remediation equipment: The operation of the necessary tools and equipment used in flood damage and remediation activities, such as pumping flooded properties.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of emergency response worker.

  • Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environment regulations and best practices.
  • Evacuate people from flooded areas: Evacuate people from areas heavily affected by floods and flood damage, and ensure they reach a safe place where they have access to medical treatment if necessary.
  • Dispose waste: Dispose waste in accordance with legislation, thereby respecting environmental and company responsibilities.
  • Perform environmental remediation: Carry out activities which ensure the removal of sources of pollution and contamination from the environment, in compliance with environmental remediation regulations.
  • Treat flood damage: Treat damage caused by floods by using the necessary tools and equipment, and ensuring the safety of the public during remediation activities.
  • Remove debris: Remove the waste from a construction or demolition site, or debris caused as consequence of a natural disaster, in order to secure the area and facilitate further working operations.
  • Evacuate people from buildings: Evacuate a person from a dangerous building or situation for protection purposes, ensuring the victim reaches safety and is able to receive medical care if necessary.
  • Estimate damage: Estimate damage in case of accidents or natural disasters.
  • Provide emergency supplies: Identify the need for supplies in emergency aid, such as specialised equipment for waste removal and transportation, or supplies to aid victims, and ensure the necessary supplies are delivered.
  • Clean up spilled oil: Safely clean up and dispose of spilled oil.
  • Coordinate with other emergency services: Coordinate the firefighters’ work with the activities of the emergency medical services and of the police.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of emergency response worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Pollution legislation: Be familiar with European and National legislation regarding the risk of pollution.
  • Pollution prevention: The processes used to prevent pollution: precautions to pollution of the environment, procedures to counter pollution and associated equipment, and possible measures to protect the environment.
  • Waste and scrap products: The offered waste and scrap products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of emergency response worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Rescue animals: Rescue animals found in situations which present an immediate or potential threat to their welfare.’
  • Provide humanitarian aid: Provide first-hand aid in dangerous or critical areas to the civilian population, such as handing out food and water, medical resources, setting up aid facilities, evacuation procedures, and ensuring the area’s security.
  • Sort waste: Manually or automatically sort waste by separating it into its different elements.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Perform risk analysis: Identify and assess factors that may jeopardise the success of a project or threaten the organisation’s functioning. Implement procedures to avoid or minimise their impact.
  • Dispose of hazardous waste: Dispose of dangerous materials such as chemical or radioactive substances according to environmental and to health and safety regulations.
  • Manage emergency procedures: React quickly in case of emergency and set planned emergency procedures in motion.
  • Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
  • Avoid contamination: Avoid the mixing or contamination of materials.
  • Perform demarcation: Perform the activities involved in the creation and fixing of boundaries around a restricted area.
  • Perform search and rescue missions: Assist in fighting natural and civic disasters, such as forest fires, floods and road accidents. Conduct search-and-rescue missions.
  • Dispatch emergency personnel: Alert and dispatch rescue personnel to emergency calls and critical alarms.
  • Identify risk of flooding: Identify the areas which are most at risk to be damaged by floods, such as areas close to rivers, as well as identifying the events which would cause floods such as changes in the weather.
  • Manage emergency evacuation plans: Monitor quick and safe emergency evacuation plans.
  • Remove contaminants: Use chemicals and solvents to remove contaminants from products or surfaces.
  • Report pollution incidents: Examine the extent of the damage and consequences when an incident causes pollution, and report it to the relevant institution following pollution reporting procedures.
  • Operate an emergency communication system: Efficiently operate common communication systems used in emergencies, such as base station mobile transmitters and receivers, portable transmitters and receivers, repeaters, cellular phones, pagers, automated vehicle locators, and satellite phones as required.

ISCO group and title

5419 – Protective services workers not elsewhere classified

  1. Emergency response worker – ESCO
Last updated on November 19, 2022

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